HONOLULU (KHON2) – An exciting month for one local non-profit. The Teen Alert program started in the early 2000’s and just recently celebrated 20 years in Hawaii.

This program was made with the Domestic Violence Action Center and was started in 2002 with the intention of taking steps to prevent future instances of relationship violence. 

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Tanya Philip is the program manager for the Teen Alert Program (TAP808) and believes cultural shifts start with empowering and educating future generations about the root causes of violence and what elements can build a healthy relationship. 

“As of the end of our last fiscal year TAP808 has trained over 91,000 students, educators, and service providers through creative and engaging workshops, trainings, and talk stories,” said Philip. “We have visited over 733 public and private school classrooms statewide and done over 1,700 engagements with middle and high school aged youth across the community.”

They have also conducted more than 592 risk assessments and accompanying safety plans for those in dangerous or violent relationships.

TAP808 serves the entire state of Hawai’i, but their staff has always been based on Oahu. 

However, they are currently in the process of expanding their services and presence to the Big Island. 

“Recently, our most veteran member, Keli’i Beyer, has moved to Hawai’i Island and is facilitating an expansion of our services and presence on the Big Island,” said Philip. “This move increases our capacity to be available to schools and communities there and offer in-person advocacy and outreach services.”

In the coming years, the organization would like to expand to include providing school-based support for children who witness domestic violence in their homes.

“The effects of abuse extend far beyond just the target of the violence, and we know sometimes the biggest impacts are on the smallest witnesses,” said Philip. “We often get asked this question when talking with teachers, service providers, and school staff about what support is available for children who are witnessing violence between the adults at home.”

Philip said she is most proud of their community of youth-facing professionals in Hawaii. Teachers, counselors, case managers, nonprofit staff and after school staff have all recognized the importance and need for this type of education early on.

She said without them reaching out and continually supporting their mission, TAP808 wouldn’t have made it 20 years of doing what they do.

“Awareness and prevention is all of our responsibility,” said Philip. “We are so grateful the community recognizes the need to have conversations about this uncomfortable topic with our keiki, so that they can grow to choose healthy love for themselves in the future and know how to support their friends.”

Philip said throughout the month of September, DVAC invites the community to light a candle in their window every Wednesday to honor survivors and those we have lost to domestic violence. 

She said people can also support their upcoming gala “Be a Torch for Change” on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. 

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For more information about their upcoming gala or for ways to donate to DVAC head to their website